“Beginning in itself has no value. It is an end which makes beginning meaningful – we must end what we began.” – Amit Kalantri
The successful leaders I’ve been around all make an effort to stay informed about things going on in their particular industry, or in the world in general, that will have an impact on the businesses they lead. Those could be economic issues, political changes, technological advances, etc. Regardless of the category, they typically have a pretty good handle on what’s going on.
Unfortunately, too many of those same leaders don’t do enough with that information. You may have a great conversation with a leader about something that’s going to revolutionize their industry. Six months later, you talk to them again and they’re still doing what they’ve always done, even though everything around them has been completely reinvented.
Much of the problem comes from the reality that change is hard, and it’s much easier to just stick with what we’ve done in the past. Even if we can see a train coming towards us, it’s easier to stay on the tracks than to dive off into something new. It’s amazing what we’ll put up with rather than try and make change.
Be purposeful about the future. It’s great for you and your leadership team to talk about trends and changes and disruptions, but it’s not enough. Have the conversations, then plan the actions. If you really think a certain technology is going to have a huge impact on your business, then create and implement a plan for dealing with or taking advantage of that technology.
Maybe it’s not technology. Maybe it’s consolidation in your industry. Maybe it’s a shift in the expectations of your industry’s customers. Maybe it’s a shift in the labor market you draw from. Maybe it’s one of a dozen other things that are impacting our organizations on a regular basis.
Whatever it is, don’t be content just to stay informed. The only purpose of staying informed is to act on that information. Once you have a picture in your head of the future world you’ll be living in, figure out a plan for living in that world and put the plan into action. The only thing worse than failing to see the future is seeing it and failing to act.